Nation’s Business and the Environment: The U.S. Chamber's Changing Relationships with Pollution, “Ecologists,” Renewables, and Regulations, 1945-1981

Abstract

Nation’s Business was a monthly business magazine published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with a subscription list larger than Business Week, Forbes, or Fortune. This study explores how the magazine responded and adapted to the rise of environmentalism, and environmental regulation of business, by exploring its treatment of four topics: DDT, environmentalists, government regulation, and renewable energy. It is built on a full-text review of all issues of Nation’s Business published between 1945 and 1981. It reveals the development of a variety of anti-environmental logics and discourses, including the delegitimization of environmentalism as emotional and irrational, the undermining of scientific conclusions as uncertain, the monetization of decisionmaking using cost-benefit analysis, and the problematization of government overregulation. The study thus traces the origins of the anti-environmental policies of the Reagan Administration to the business community of the preceding decade.

Publication
Submitted to J. of Envtl. Studies & Sciences